Photo of the Day: Even NBA Stars Must Serve in the Greek Military; Giannis and Thanassis Antetokounmpo Appear for Duty


Milwaukee Bucks’s Giannis Antetokounmpo— known throughout the world to his adoring fans as the Greek Freak and his brother Thanasis, who was drafted in 2014 plays for the New York Knicks’ D-League affiliate, began their mandatory military service in Greece Wednesday in an armor training center near Athens.

According to Greek law, all Greek men between the ages of 19 and 45 are required to serve a nine-month term of service in the military, but the commitment is reduced to three months for Greeks living permanently abroad.

The brothers will spend the rest of the summer serving— and will hopefully complete their service in time before the 2016-17 NBA season begins this Fall.

Both brothers were born in Athens and were raised playing basketball in a rough neighborhood called Sepolia. The sons of immigrants from Nigeria, their quest for citizenship was realized only recently as Giannis was vying for a spot on Greece’s national basketball team.

Greece’s archaic laws had the brothers in a sort of citizenship no-man’s land since they were born in Greece, but to foreign-born parents.



1 Comment

  1. Mitsos Barbakostas (Philip) on

    I am a Greek, American, Lebanese citizen. I have three passports. I was born and raised in Greece.
    I did not want to serve in the Greek army at all and I hate the Greek government for making me do so!
    I could not get a reduced sentence of 3 months because I was not the oldest sibling in my family
    I could not get a reduced sentence of 3 months because I did not have any disabilities
    I could not get a reduced sentence of 3 months because I did not live abroad for more than 10 years.
    The Greek army is a joke. You don’t learn anything. You don’t do push-ups, you don’t learn any new skills. you just sit around 10 hrs a day waiting to maybe kill your boredom and get an order to maybe clean a yard or a toilet. The people who serve are all uneducated villagers and the Sergeants who supposedly “lead” are the worst: they are drunk with power, they don’t exemplify any good qualities. My Sergeant was a gambling addict and used to ask every one in our Unit in Athens for money. He even came in the gym once and asked me for 500 euros. I couldn’t believe it. Now everytime I pass in front of the Greek “Pentagon” in Agia Paraskevi, I never forget to show my rage! I feel bad that these two professional basket ball players had to cut their careers to serve a dilapidated armed forced that exists only to create a few measly jobs, and not create any protection. #FTGA

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